Tuesday

Henry Green in the Paris Review (part one)


INTERVIEWER
I’ve heard it remarked that your work is “too sophisticated” for American readers, in that it offers no scenes of violence—and “too subtle,” in that its message is somewhat veiled. What do you say?

GREEN
Unlike the wilds of Texas, there is very little violence over here. A bit of child killing, of course, but no straight shootin’. After fifty, one ceases to digest; as someone once said: “I just ferment my food now.” Most of us walk crabwise to meals and everything else. The oblique approach in middle age is the safest thing. The unusual at this period is to get anywhere at all—Goddamn!

INTERVIEWER
And how about “subtle”?

GREEN
I don’t follow.
Suttee, as I understand it, is the suicide—now forbidden—of a Hindu wife on her husband’s flaming pyre. I don’t want my wife to do that when my time comes—and with great respect, as I know her, she won’t . . .

INTERVIEWER
I’m sorry, you misheard me; I said, “subtle”—that the message was too subtle.

GREEN
Oh,
subtle. How dull!

No comments:

Post a Comment